By Philip Sayblack
A local women’s shelter is celebrating after recently regaining its nonprofit status.
The Lighthouse Home Inc., at 1016 Eastern Avenue, recently received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that it has regained its status as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Director Vanessa Rorie has been operating the house for the past 17 years. She said the house serves as a safe haven for women who are homeless and recovering from drug addiction or other circumstances.
Rorie said the Lighthouse Home lost its non-profit status approximately four years ago because it was not bringing in any funding. She said she started saving last summer to be able to pay the $850 fee that is included with the application for organizations wishing to be considered nonprofits, adding it took a lot of determination.
“It was extremely stressful saving the money and waiting to find out if we had regained our nonprofit status — but I’m a hustler,” Rorie said. “I worked hard and made it happen.”
She said she was overwhelmed when the IRS’ letter came declaring the house a nonprofit organization again.
“I was so happy that I was on the floor crying,” Rorie said. “The women living in the house had to pick me up off the floor. We’re all so excited. The whole community had been waiting for this.”
Rorie stressed that now that Lighthouse Home has regained its nonprofit status, she has started reaching out to businesses throughout the area. She added donations to the shelter will go primarily toward covering the cost of daily operations.
“We have to be able to feed the women, keep them warm, buy medications, etc.” Rorie said.
Though she didn’t have a fundraising goal set now that the shelter has regained its nonprofit status, Rorie said she hopes the shelter could raise at least $100,000 this year.
Six women currently live at Lighthouse Home Inc. A seventh is expected to move in soon, Rorie said.